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fiscal cliff hanger, let's play some "hardball." good evening. i'm michael smerconish in for chris matthews. we're expecting president obama to make a statement from the fiscal cliff on the white house in just a moment. the statement comes after an embarrassing defeat after last night for house speaker john boehner. he had to pull his own fiscal plan because he couldn't get his own party to vote for it. now the fiscal cliff talks are up in the air. nbc's mike viqueira is on capitol hill for us as we await the president. mike, what are we anticipating? >> reporter: we're anticipating the president is going to come out and talk about where negotiations stand at this point, and as far as we know, they're pretty much nowhere. we're sifting through the wreckage of what happened here in the house of representatives last night. i mean, a lot of people are looking at this and saying the
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president has doubled up on his victory on election day, his battlefield victory. he has routed the enemy, chased them into the woods, and what happened last night was a reckoning for the republican party. they are fractious by their own admission. john boehner cannot negotiate now. if he didn't have the votes for his plan "b" that set that income threshold at $1 million, there's no way in the world he gets anywhere close to the amount of votes he's going to need for the latest negotiating position for the president, which was up to $250,000 to $400,000 for married couples filing jointly. that's where we are right now. the threshold question all along is would john boehner put something on the floor of the house of representatives that required him to pass by majority democratic support and lose the majority of his party -- the republican party. i'm here to tell you, michael, that simply doesn't happen. >> is it good or bad news for the president, mike, in so far as the boehner defeat, the embarrassment last night really leaves the president without someone with whom he can
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negotiate? in other words, who does the president turn to now? >> reporter: and that is a great question. as a matter of fact, we are told that harry reid, the democratic leader of the senate, has been at the white house huddled with the president during some time in the last hour before the president is due to appear up there in the brady briefing room. what we saw today was recrimination in the aftermath of what happened last night. john boehner coming out saying we passed a bill way back in the summer that extends rates permanently for everyone. obviously that's a nonstarter, but i said harry reid should pick it up. harry reid says the house has to get back to work. this silliness about plan "b" has to end. mitch mcconnell the republican leader says it's all up to the president. everybody moving in different directions. the senate passed the bill that set the threshold at $250,000. it's sitting over in the house right now. there are procedural problems with it that can easily be gotten around, but that would be the lone remaining vie aebl vehicle, but i don't think really there's a chance for any of that to happen in the house of representatives, michael. i think the most likely scenario
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at this point is the inertia scenario. go past january 1st, rates rise on everyone, and thin it's a much easier vote for these republicans in the how many times to cut taxes for 98% of americans. >> is your sense of it that the votes that could not be corralled last night by speaker boehner, those conservativeses, those tea party republicans would rather go off the fiscal cliff than compromise with this president of the united states? >> you know, this is the acrimony going back and forth. it's almost an article of faith now, michael, i have said for weeks they believe the president wants to go off the cliff. many democrats up here believe the republicans want to go off the cliff. i got to tell you, i don't think anybody wants to go off the cliff. obviously the president is in a politically advantageous point. there is no question about it. but, again, i think the most likely solution here to bar an economic cat chris am, another recession is what we're talking about, raising taxes to the tune of $2,200 for next year for the average american family of four if there is no resolution. there's a lot at stake here.
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there's a long list of taxes that are going to go up, kick back in, the amt, estate tax, the payroll tax, and, of course, income taxes. i think both men want to have a deal simply because this might even sound naive at this point, because it's the best thing for the country. >> stay with us, please, if you will. south carolina republican congressman mick mulvaney is here with me tonight. he's one of many republicans who plan to vote no on plan "b." welcome, congressman, thank you for being here. my question i just wut to mike viqueira is better put to you. would you rather go off the fiscal cliff than compromise with this president of the united states? >> well, no. i mean, i'm not adverse to compromising with this president. we've tried to do things together for the last two years, but when he's offering us things that are so outrageous that he knows we can't take, i don't know how you can compromise. i tell people if you're trying to sell your house and i knock on your front door and say identify like to buy your house for $1, you'd slam the door in my face because i'm not a serious negotiator. we have not seen anything out of
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the president yet that's even close to being able to be the basis for a discussion -- >> what was your objection to the so-called plan "b" by your own speaker? is it in your view that it raised taxes? >> no. in fact, actually if you look at the text of the document it actually doesn't raise taxes. so that's not actually my objection. my objection was it didn't fix the problem. it didn't cut any spending. it really didn't fix any of our longer term issues. it divided us between us and them and that's not something i want to participate in as a republican. i wanted something that treats everybody fairly. this is a flawed piece of legislation at many levels. >> so i understand your objection is then -- you're not staking out, drawing a line in the sand, staking out territory that says i won't vote for something that does raise taxes? >> yeah, i'm not telling anybody what i will or will not vote for. what i have told people all day today and for several months is that i have voted for things up here that i never thought i would vote for. i voted to raise the debt ceiling. i did it as part of an overall package called cut, cap, and balance that solved the problem. bring us something that actually
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solves the problem and we will look at it. >> congressman, have you wounded speaker boehner's ability to negotiate a deal that would be palatable to you by the way in which he was embarrassed last night? >> no, and i think that's one of the greatest nonstories of today. i've been getting that question all day long. keep in mind, the opposition to this bill last night is not the conservative wing of the party. the opposition was broad based. there were moderates who were against it. some of the most conservative members of our body -- >> but we don't know that because no vote was taken. consequently the word has been on capitol hill that it was the most conservative of republicans who were to use a word intransigent with this speaker. they wouldn't even go along with their own leader. >> it's simply not true. there were conservatives who were against it, moderates who were against it, conservatives and moderates who were for it. i don't think anybody has asked the question. we have always assumed, especially when you talk to folks across the aisle as you do all day long, that the conservative wing of the party. i can assure you nothing was
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further from the truth yesterday. >> with what are you hoping to hear from the president momentarily? >> something we can work with, something close, something that's not demagoguery in politics, something with some detail to it. i have been reading some of the internet ashls about what he might be saying. let's see what he comes back with. >> thank you, congressman mulvaney. we appreciate your time. robert costa is the washington editor for national review and a contributor to cnbc's kudlow report and msnbc political analyst david corn is the washington bureau chief for mother jones magazine. bob, you really had the backstory on what went on last night. i'm surprised to hear the congressman say it wasn't just the most conservative members of the republican house. does that comport with your understanding? >> sure. there are a few moderates who were against -- >> a few. >> a few, but this was really driven by the conservatives in the house who went to john boehner at 7:00 last night and they say we cannot support this at all. remember, there are 241 republicans in the house. boehner could risk having 24 defections. i hear the number was between
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30, 50, maybe even 60 defectors. boehner pulled the entire thing from the floor, went ahead of the conference, said a prayer about serenity, and pulled the entire thing from the floor and sent everybody home. >> what was the basic objection. the congressman just said it wasn't a perception they would be participating in a raising of taxes. >> it really comes down to politics, michael. you have been in politics for decades. you know how it works. a lot of them said i can't go home and sell a tax rate increase, even if it's just a tax rate increase for millionaires. i risk a primary if i sign onto that kind of legislation. >> that's my confusion. the congressman just said it wasn't a tax increase. david corn, is it really that the speaker loses credibility with his own folks when he negotiates in good faith with this president of the united states? and i continue to say it this way because of the antipathy that so many of them have exhibited toward the president. >> you know, the clown show got clownier. i don't know how else to put it. we went through this a year and a half ago in the summer of the
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debt ceiling and again and again and again, and this is what i wrote about in my book, "showdown" boehner would try to negotiate a deal with the president. the president's men believed he was trying in good faith and i believe the president's aides in that, and yet he would go back to the caucus and rush limbaugh and "the wall street journal" and others would be raising a storm, and he would basically fib or misrepresent his own caucus what he would been talking about with the white house. for the last few weeks as i've been on this show with chris and others, i keep saying, listen, the problem isn't john boehner. the problem is john boehner is being held hostage by his own caucus. he's not able to cut a deal. and it's absurd that last night the speaker of the house didn't even know his caucus well enough that he came close to putting a bill on the floor that ended up not passing. and he has to pull it. he should know days in advance whether he has support or not. >> it's even worse than that because the whole thing was a bit of a charade to begin with,
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bob costa, because this was never going to get through the senate, and if it did by some miracle, it was never going to get the signature of the president. the whole thing was politics. >> of course it was all politics. obama had $400,000 as his threshold. boehner want the threshold to be a million and there's always a discussion behind the scenes that eventually the final deal with be somewhere between 400k and $1 million. this was a negotiating tactic by boehner but when his negotiating tactic fails, boehner's entire hand in this negotiation collapses because now he can't, as david said correctly, he can't guarantee any part of his caucus as a real person, as a real factor in this negotiation that will back the speaker's ideas. >> david, can harry reid fill this void? can he speak for the house? >> no, he can't. i mean, this is the problem. harry reid and mitch mcconnell and the president i think could cut a deal pretty damn quickly, but it has to go through the house. unless there's a petition discharge and the democrats are
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able to get, you know, what do they need 18, 20 republicans who are maybe a little more on the sane side who will vote to bring a bill out, but the speaker controls the floor of the house. you can't bring anything up without really his say-so. what's he going to do? even something passes the house, even if mitch mcconnell is okay with this, how can he bring up a vote on a bill and risk his speakership? this is what happened with the payroll tax cut a year ago and he eventually bent, but i'm not sure he's going to be able to do this in time before the deadline. >> let me go back to mike viqueira and ask him to respond to some of what he's hearing from his perch on capitol hill. mike, weigh in on this. >> reporter: well, again, you know, i just don't see where they go. there's no place to go. there's nothing that's going to pass in the house of representatives that raises taxes an iota. and what speaker boehner was trying to do with his plan "b" is what leaders, democrats, republicans, always do in the how many times. you can't beat something with nothing.
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so speaker boehner was trying to vote, demonstrate to the white house and his own conference how difficult this was going to be for him to come off $1 million or raise taxes at all. he certainly succeeded in that regard. but he also wanted to send something to the senate that could have been possibly a basis of negotiation, they call it ping-pong around here. you know, this goes to the senate, the senate says this is what we think -- it's just very late in the game for all this obviously. and so the only logical and realistic explanation, i know i'm harping on it is inertia. go over the cliff, come back, make the cuts retroactive. >> i disagree with that slightly. what i'm hearing from capitol hill republicans is they don't want to go over the cliff yet. there's still some time next week to perhaps bring a bill to the floor as david corn said that would maybe need 110 republican votes, 110 democratic votes. it's a $500,000 threshold, $600,000 threshold, and that maybe has a chance next week. >> we'll see what happens. i want to see it. >> bob, isn't one takeaway from this is there's no way a grand bargain is struck?
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those who have been waiting for something, simpson/bowles like, it's just not in the cards, there's going to be a band-aid applied. >> michael, real quick, yes and no. there's no chance of a grand bargain before december 3 1st, but i still think behind the scenes boehner and obama are continuing to have a talk about some kind of tax reform and entitlement reform but right now it's all about rates. the discussion is about rates. >> but also remember, michael, that after this we still have to deal with the debt ceiling. and the republicans, you know, the caucus there is showing that they're just not willing to compromise and be reasonable depending on your perspective. if this is how they're playing it now, one can only wonder what they'll do when they have the debt ceiling to hold hostage once again. they are driving this because they're not letting boehner negotiate as an adult should be able to, and so if he can't control his own caucus, i don't think you can have a grand bargain at the end of the day because he can't trust him to support whatever he's willing to trade away to the president to get something in return. >> bob costa, let me ask you this question.
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what's the net/net politically for he or she in middle america who is half paying attention, they're doing christmas shopping, getting ready for the holidays and they know there was some blowup on capitol hill last night. it can't be playing well for brand gop. you'd acknowledge that, right? >> i think, michael, i was outside of the whip's office lath night, kevin mack car think, a lot of moderate republicans were coming out and they were disappointed. in my article they expressed their disappointment because when they go home, they have to talk to their constituents who are frustrated. they have to deal with them being done. they're frustrated their rates may go up. some conservatives blocked this behind the scenes but a lot of moderate republicans, part of that tuesday group of centrists, they have to go home and have a lot of tough questions. >> you mentioned congressman mulvaney. i think i still have him. congressman, if you're still there, better i should have asked the question to you, sir, how does this play at home for you? >> i think it plays fine. i think the folks recognize the fact that the president is the
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difficulty here. i'm not having any difficulty back home. folks automatically think south carolina is a right wing extreme state. i'm the first republican in my district in 130 years. so this is a swing district and i'm still getting a lot of support from folks back home. >> you know, let me just say this to the congressman, i like to regard myself as answering the telephone for a livinging because i do 15 hours of live radio a week. what i hear from people all across the country is can't the adults work this out? can't compromise be a clean word, not a dirty word? get in a room and iron this out. >> absolutely. but you're making an assumption here that i don't think is fair. >> tell me. >> you're assuming if what we had passed last night was going to become law. that's meaningless. >> no. to the contrary i use the word charade earlier. what baffles me about the politics is that the speaker would have expended all this capital on something that would never have gotten out of the senate to begin with much less with the president. >> michael, i don't want to take your job away but let me say
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this to the congressman while we have him. what compromise would you accept here? the president won with 53% of the vote, 52%, his approval rating is at 56%. he campaigned without a doubt on raising taxes for people making over $250,000. so he's come up from that to 400, 500, whatever it's going to be. what compromise are you willing to make? what would you agree to that you wouldn't otherwise want to do to make something happen? >> sure. and i'm going to dodge your question just a little bit -- >> there you go. >> no, no, wait for a second. you're not the other side of this negotiation. you can't give me what i want in this. i'm not going to tell you what i will or won't do. i will tell you this, i have already taken heat from my party for working with barney frank. i think i have shown a track record of being willing to work with the other side if it fixes the problem. i'm not going to compromise for the sake of political charade to put it in you guys' words. i'm interested in fixing the problem. let's get to that point so we can get beyond political rhetoric and get beyond the
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demagoguery. >> but one problem is tax rates go up a week from now. that's -- a lot ever problems here at once. there's the question of spending, there's the question of entitlements, the debt ceiling but one problem is the tax rates go up in a week. what do you want to do about that? >> i don't want that any more than anybody else but i'm also not willing to simply give away the farm so that doesn't happen. the bill last night had no spending cuts, none, zero. they tacked on another bill on the calendar but the actual bill we voted on, plan "b" last night, not a single dollar in spending cuts. that's a nonstarter for me and for a lot of folks in my caucus and not just the conservatives. >> congressman, think more broadly than just your district if you would, what effect do you think it has on the brand for the republican party generally? >> i think that remains to be seen. i get that question a lot. i think there's an argument to be made if it passed last night it had you are the the brand. there's an argument if it failed last night it hurt the brand. i happen to fall into the former category. i think it's important that the public knows that the
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republicans stand for everybody and that we do not believe in raising tax rates. that's important. that's part of who we are as republicans. i think if we give in just a little bit on that, we start to do -- we do start to lose our brand. that said, if it's done as part of something that really fixes the problem, i think we actually come out looking better in the end. >> robert costa, paint the picture for me as to what went on. you talked about the serenity prayer offered by speaker boehner. what are you referring to? >> so john boehner called a conference meeting to announce that this thing is not going forward, he's pulling it from the floor. as much as -- the congressman is right. inside the republican party there's a battle over taxes about taking a stand principally on their tax position. but the scene was utter chaos. i was in the capitol basement. so many came out shocked because john boehner, they thought he had the votes. i was personally whipping the vote on the floor wednesday. there was a hard whip on
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thursday. for boehner just to send everyone home was a surprise and it shows the republican party at least in the house of representatives is having a real identity crisis because john boehner's power, it's not necessarily in question. there's no one challenging him for the speakership, but at the same time there's a real question of where can he go when it comes to whipping votes? what power does he really have to corral his caucus? >> mike viqueira, talk to me about john boehner's future as we enter 2013 and the position of the speakership. >> reporter: well, you know, the speakership isn't what it used to be. >> apparently not. >> reporter: i was talking to a veteran member of congress up here, a republican, and we were talking a little bit about the leverage that a speaker might have. you know, it used to be way back in the day, all the way back in the sam rayburn day, when a speaker wanted to talk to an appropriations chair, the appropriations chair didn't go to the speaker's suite. the speaker went to the appropriations chair suite. a man was offered the chairman of the appropriations committee,
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he passed it over. patrick leahy. another man was offered it, tom harkin. he passed it over. they don't have the leverage. they don't have the swag they used to have here largely because or -- not necessarily largely or principally but to a certain degree because this place is cleaned up somewhat. there are no more earmarks, not $20 billion of earmarks. you can't say i'm going to take that bridge away unless you vote for this project. we saw jayne baohn boehner play hardball yanking them off the 5678d committees, but evidently the speaker does not have that kind of swag. i want to put this in context. the national debt in this country is $16 trillion. john boehner and the speaker -- john boehner and the president are $4 billion -- $400 billion apart. that's a ten-year figure. it gets to the point it's almost ridiculous. now i think the republicans are losing leverage.
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if we go over the cliff, all the pressure is going to be on them. the president is going to get the extension of the debt ceiling. the republicans may not get what they thought they were going to get in terms of entitlement reform and curbing the growth of entitlement, modest though that may have been in some people's eyes. so i think it's bad news all around for republicans at this point. the chips are certainly down here, mike. >> gentlemen, if you wouldn't mind staying right where you were. we're awaiting president obama's remarks concerning the fiscal cliff. a quick time-out and come back to "hardball." [ woman ] ring. ring.
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>> gentlemen, if you wouldn't
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we're back awaiting president obama's statement from the white house on the fiscal cliff. nbc's mike viqueira is with us from capitol hill as is u.s. congressman nick mulvaney, republican from north carolina. also with us bob cass that and david corn of mother jones. of what concern are the
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fluctuations in the market in this whole process? >> well, i'm not too worried about the short-term fluctuations. i think you saw the dow was down 120-odd points. i think it's been down more than 100 points five times in the last 30 days. when the dow is at 13,000, 100 points is not that big a deal. i'm not too kerped about the short-term variations. i am concerned about the long-term effects on the economy and i think that's a real concern that people are right to have. >> the asked the question because as you will recall in the fall of '08 there was that 775-point drop at a time when there was a vote against the bush bank bailout. robert costa, of what extent do you think that's a factor in all this? are those with whom you speak on capitol hill concerned about the market and its reaction? >> no, i speak to some sources close to leadership earlier today, and they expect when the house comes back next week and if the markets really start to fluctuate, boehner may not be able to get a majority of house republicans to sign onto a compromise bill with a different
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threshold, but if the markets are fleck waiting maybe he can get 50 to 100 republicans to sign onto a compromise. that's why the market factor is important. some republicans may not be able to go back home and say they voted against something, especially if the markets are really going jittery. >> if i can step in here and i apologize for going where i'm not invited but what does that mean if the market is up next week? >> if the market is up next week it's not a factor and boehner will have a harder time getting a compromise. >> there you go. >> michael, there's something other than -- >> go ahead, david. >> there's something other than the market. the white house has been hearing a lot from republican ceos who are just looking at what's going on in washington and considering it just completely nuts. this is no way to run the economy, one of the most important economies in the world, and they are blaming the republicans more than the democrats or the president, and we're going to see this i think even greater outcry maybe become public if the republicans yet again start playing with the debt ceiling, which we can ask the congressman now, but i think that's the next -- i think
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there's their plan c, d, e, or f. >> congressman, i was making reference to some of the poll numbers that david just brought up. all of congress suffers from low approval ratings, but i think when you look at some of the data on who do you blame the most for what's taking place, the gop takes a much harder hit than do the democratic members of the house. >> we do. we saw that in the national election. we've come to expect that we've always struggled on the messaging or at least in recent periods of time. it's very difficult to compete with a president of the other party who is a very good communicator, it's easy to hate congress because you only usually know one or two out of the 435 members. everybody knows who is the president is. we do have an uphill battle fight on messaging. there's no question about it, but does that mean that you vote differently? does it mean you vote for something that you shouldn't otherwise vote for so you can go out and say, look, don't blame me? keep in mind, even if we had vet voted for this last night and it had failed, don't i think we
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would have been getting blamed anyway. >> i was outside the house conference and i think congressman mulvaney brings up a great point. a lot of republicans walked up to speaker john boehner and said regardless of what happens, mr. speaker, mr. leader, we're going to get blamed anyway. so why compromise on anything if we're going to get blamed. i'm not going to vote for this piece of legislation. >> at some point, too, you have to have a washington that works. you just got to get around some of these issues. listen, the president has put things on the table that people on the left and democrats don't like, but i think they're willing to swallow hard and try to move ahead because being stuck -- i don't like the cliff metaphor but having these tax rates go up, having a problem with the debt ceiling is very bad for the average worker out there and bad for incomes across the board. if the republicans just want to say, hey, our messaging stinks and we're going to stick to principles and not let our leaders negotiate for us, eventually the public will have to do something about it. >> gentlemen, i have to hold it right there if you don't mind. we're going to bring you the presidential statement on the fiscal cliff when it happens.
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but he's had a very busy day. he picked john kerry to replace hnt as secretary of state. how will kerry do and who will take his place in the senate? this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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welcome back to "hardball." it's official, president obama announced today that he would nominate senator john kerry to replace secretary of state hillary clinton. let's watch. >> i am very proud to announce my choice for america's next secretary of state, john kerry. in a sense john's entire life has prepared him for this role. as the son of a foreign service officer, he has a deep respect for the men and women of the state department. having served with valor in vietnam, he understands that we have a responsibility to use american power wisely, especially our military power. >> so what does today's announcement mean for the president's second term and what
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does it mean for kerry's senate seat in chris cillizza is the managing editor of post politics dom and an msnbc corrector and brian bend ser a national security reporter for the boston globe. president obama and senator kerry have shared a unique history over the past eight years, something obama talked about today. >> of course, i also have to say thanks because john invited a young illinois state senator to address the democratic convention in boston. i was proud to serve with him on the foreign relathss committee under the tutelage of joe biden and where we all became friends. but, of course, nothing brings two people closer together than weeks of debate prep. john, i'm looking forward to working with you instead of debating you. >> ryan, i forgot about the role senator kerry had played with that now famous speech that was
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delivered by now-president obama. where would he be without that speech to the dnc in boston. >> it's true. john kerry has been one of his earliest political supporters. not only did he give him that slot in 2004 which brought barack obama to national prominence but he was a big supporter for obama's campaign in 2008. >> chris cillizza only a minute or so because we're anticipating the president's arrival, but this nomination, do you expect any hiccups in the road? >> i don't. president obama in announcing the nomination that he had picked john kerry, michael, said, and i expect him to be smoothly confirmed. i would say one of the reasons john kerry was picked, certainly not the only one and not one of the top five, he is a current member of the senate and he had people like susan collins, bob corker, republicans saying this is a guy who could get picked and get right through. the president given what happened with susan rice, chuck hague 'em, the huck cups have that gone with the theory of the
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chuck hagel nomination, i think he wanted to pick someone for secretary of state that he knew would be kind of a very quick confirmation. john kerry certainly has every look of that at the moment. >> brian bender, who is the odds on favorite to fill the kerry seat assuming he's confirmed? >> well, i mean, there's going to be a place holder that governor patrick will name in an interim four or five months until the special election. governor patrick has said that person will probably not be sun who would likely run for the seat. once the special election occurs in the spring, it's anyone's guess. scott brown, former governor william weld has been talked of as somebody who would run. >> and ben affleck. >> ben affleck has come up. and the democrats will be a divisive bloodbath of a primary. >> we're expecting the arrival of the president so i'm probably going to have to cut it short at
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this juncture and go to the president and hear what he has to say. we're going to go to the white house right now in anticipation of president obama. mike viqueira, i know you're still with us, and here is the president of the united states. let's all listen. >> good afternoon, everybody. over the last few weeks i have been working with leaders of both parties on a proposal to get our deficit under control, avoid tax hikes on the middle class, and to make sure that we can spur jobs and economic growth. a balanced proposal that cuts spending but also asks the wealthiest americans to pay more. a proposal that will strengthen the middle class over the long haul and grow our economy over the long haul. during the course of these negotiations, i offered to compromise with republicans in congress. i met them halfway on taxes and i met them more than halfway on spending. in terms of actual dollar
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amounts, we're not that far apart. as of today i am still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done. i still believe that reducing our deficit is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our economy and the confidence of our businesses. i remain committed to working towards that goal whether it happens all at once or whether it happens in several different steps. but in ten days we face a deadline. in ten days under current law tax rates are scheduled to rise on most americans, and even though democrats and republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us, every single one of us, agrees that tax rates shouldn't go up for the other 98% of americans, which includes 97% of small businesses. every member of congress believes that, every democrat,
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every republican, so there is absolutely no reason, none, not to protect these americans from a tax hike. at the very least let's agree right now on what we already agree on. let's get that done. i just spoke to speaker boehner, and i also met with senator reid. in the next few days i have asked leaders of congress to work towards a package that prevents a tax hike on middle class americans, protects unemployment insurance for 2 million americans, and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction. that's an achievable goal. that can get done in ten days. once this legislation is agreed to, i expect democrats and republicans to get back to washington and have it pass both chambers, and i will immediately sign that legislation into law
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before january 1st of next year. it's that simple. averting this middle class tax hike is not a democratic responsibility or a republican responsibility. with their votes the american people have determined that governing is a shared responsibility between both parties. in this congress laws can only pass with support from democrats and republicans, and that means nobody gets 100% of what they want. everybody has got to give a little bit. in a sensible way. we move forward together or we don't move forward at all. so as we leave town for a few days to be with our families through the holidays, i hope it gives everybody some perspective. everybody can cool off. everybody can drink some eggnog, have some christmas cookies, sing some christmas carols,
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enjoy the company of loved ones, and then i'd ask every member of congress while they're back home to think about that. think about the obligations we have to the people who sent us here. think about the hardship that so many americans will endure if congress does nothing at all. just as our economy is really starting to recover and we're starting to see optimistic signs and we've seen actually some upside statistics from a whole range of areas including housing, now is not the time for more self-inflicted wounds. certainly not those coming from washington. and there's so much more work to be done in this country on jobs and on incomes, education, and energy. we're a week away from one of the worst tragedies in memory, so we've got work to do on gun safety. a host of other issues. these are all challenges that we
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can meet. they're all challenges that we have to meet if we want our kids to grow up in an america that's full of opportunity and possibility, as much opportunity and possibility as the america that our parents and our grandparents left for us. but we're only going to be able to do it together. we're going to have to find some common ground. and the challenge that we've got right now is that the american people are a lot more sensible and a lot more thoughtful and much more willing to compromise and give and sacrifice and act responsibly than their elected representatives are. and that's a problem. there's a mismatch right now between how everybody else is thinking about these problems, democrats and republicans. , outside of this town and how folks are operating here, and we've just got to get that aligned. we've only got ten days to do
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it. so i hope that every member of congress is thinking about that. nobody can get 100% of what they want, and this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who doesn't. there are real world consequences to what we do here, and i want next year to be a year of strong economic growth. i want next year to be a year in which more jobs are created and more businesses are started. and we're making progress on all the challenges that we have out there. some of which, by the way, we don't have as much control over as we have in terms of just shaping a sensible budget. this is something within our capacity to solve. it doesn't take that much work. we just have to do the right thing. so call me a hopeless optimist,
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but i actually still think we can get it done, and with that i want to wish every american at merry christmas and, you know, because we didn't get this done, i will see you next week. all right. thank you, guys. >> president obama saying let's get the middle class tax component done because there's agreement on that. he also said that he's compromised. he said that he has met the republicans halfway on taxes. he said he's met the republicans halfway on spending. mike viqueira is still with us from capitol hill. mike, any surprises in what you just heard from president obama? >> reporter: i just don't think that that's going to be the break through that's going to get us to avert this fiscal cliff. the president is essentially talking about the same proposal that he had on the table before, 98% of americans getting a tax cut. that translates to an income level of $250,000. obviously a nonstarter. still putting pressure on republicans to come around, to come down off their figure.
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i don't see what the president has proposed there or what the president spoke of in general terms anyway, and we assume he's talking about the bill that passed the senate with that $250,000 level that has now languished in the house for quite some time. hard to see how this is going to break the log jam. >> robert costa, he said he spoke not only with senator reid but also with speaker boehner so he continues that negotiation process despite last night's wounding. >> michael, that's the big thing to take away from what the president just said. he could have said a lot of different things, but the most important thing was that he just spoke with speaker boehner. that means talks are still ongoing. he also mentioned he wants to come back next week and try to get something done. boehner said the same thing. he's open to coming back next week after christmas. so this means reid, obama, boehner, and mcconnell continue to chat. >> chris cillizza, the odd dynamic, you'll correct me if i'm wrong, is that the president needs john boehner, does he not?
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but for boehner, where does he go? with whom can he negotiate? harry reid can't speak for the house. >> right. i would say this, i think he needs john boehner because if they do want to try this 250000 and above bill they need the republican leadership to be willing to put it on the floor for a vote, and that includes john boehner, and then the question, michael, is can they peel off 20, 25, 30 republicans. it's the exact opposite math but can they take a handful of republicans, add them to the majority of democrats, and is boehner okay with passing something like this with what would certainly be if it was the $250,000 or above a minority of the majority. so, you know, a lot of it does still lay in boehner's hands though i think his leverage is significantly reduced. does he bring the bill up and is he okay with a minority of the majority. that's not something we've seen in the modern era of the republican party, that they are okay with bills going through like that. we shall see.
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>> thank you for your patience. mike viqueira, robert costa, and chris sill lis za. the other big story today, the nra speaks after the connecticut school massacre. that's ahead. this is "hardball," the place for politics. tmas? yeah, sure you can. great. where's your gift? uh... whew. [ male announcer ] break from the holiday stress. ship fedex express by december 22nd for christmas delivery. [ male announcer ] it started long ago. the joy of giving something everything you've got. it takes passion. and it's not letting up anytime soon. at unitedhealthcare insurance company, we understand that commitment.
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it's been a week since the massacre in newtown. today the national rifle association waded into the debate over gun control with a strange press conference. the group's ceo wayne lapierre blames laws banning guns at school for the violence. his position, nor guns. the nra called for putting an armed guard at every school in the country. >> the only way to stop a monster from killing our kids is to be personally involved and invested in a plan of absolute
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protection. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. i call on congress today to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to have put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. and to do it now. >> to train thousands of armed guards and what would it accomplish? would one armed person really have been able to stop last week's killer with his semiautomatic rifle and body armor? steve sigh bold is the author of the book "sex, politics and religion" and david corn is the washington bureau chief for mother jones mr. sibolt, are you comfortable with what the nra put forward today? >> absolutely. more guns equals less crime. if we don't arm our teachers, if we don't have guards at the
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schools, there's no question about it that this is going to happen again. but at least the teachers have a fighting chance. at least they have a fighting chance to save those little kids. >> i don't want to read into this. do i understand your view that it would be a requirement for teachers? what if i'm a teacher who doesn't want to carry a firearm. i'm not proficient and i want nothing to do with guns. >> i don't want my kid in your class then. my kid is in danger. i'll send my kid to another school where the teacher is willing. >> so to a young person in school today maybe pursuing a career in college to school young people, they would also need to be trained and comfortable with the idea of carrying a weapon? >> unfortunately, this is the world we live in. >> one last thing, daefd. by that logic, why not arm the students as well? >> because the students are children. >> a high school? an 18-year-old high school senior. by your logic, they, too, should all be carrying weapons?
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and the lunch ladies and the bus driver. >> no, but i think the college kids should be armed. absolutely. they have the right to protect themselves. the government cannot protect us. they can't be everywhere all of the time. the government -- this is delusional thinking. >> it's such a complicated subject. and i hate to play into the sound byte mentality that this week has become. we're 5% of the world's population and we've got 50% of the guns. >> you know, i think today, the nra planted a flag on planet bizaro. we have more guns in this country and we have more gun violence in this country than any other western industrialized nation. and what they then say is we need more guns, like our guest just said. that's the world we live in. no, we live in a world where everyone around the country has mentally deranged people, they have violent video games, violent movies, violent music, as we do. but, yet, they don't have the number of guns we have.
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and strikingly, oddly enough, they don't have the same gun violence that we do. i don't know why that point escapes our guest on the show tonight. >> mr. sibolt, i feel naive. i really thought today because the nra said they were bringing forth con trixs, i thought they were embracing universal background kwheks. i don't think today's message played so well, which is what david is saying, in middle america. >> the problem is not the nra. the problem is we're having the wrong conversation, as usual in this country. we should be talking about mental illness. note guns. normal people don't shoot people. >> but what i'm trying to say is that the mentally ill have free access to our weapons. the new york times today had a front page story about the swiss cheese nature of the f.b.i.'s recordkeeping pertaining to those who have mental illness or those who shouldn't carry a
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weapon because of their criminal imness. >> listen, michael. talking about mental illness, they are opposed to background checks on people who go to gun shows, who sell guns to each other privately, not to gun stores. >> i know. i was shocked about that. i wish we had more time. thank you, david corn. thank you, steven sibolt. when we return, allow me to finish with "zero dark 30" and the difference one ball can make. you're watching "hardball," the place for politics. so rich and creamy... is it really 100 calories? let me put you on webcan... ...lean roasted chicken... and a creamy broth mmm i can still see you. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. mmm i can still see you. try running four.ning a restaurant is hard, fortunately we've got ink.
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last night, here in new york city, i saw the movie k"zero dak 30." i thought it lived up to the hype. it was spell binding, especially at the conclusion even though you know how it ends. much of the advance attention has been focused on how the movie begins, with the graphic depiction of an al-qaida prisoner being harshly interrogated. they feared that american movie goers will get a distorted impression of the role of torture in our getting bin laden. the first half hour depicts the interrogation of a detainee. although film makers say he's a composite figure, he's based on someone who was harshly
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interrogated although not water boarded. a key break in the hunt for bin laden. when we eventually learned the courier's real name and found him, we found bin laden. in real life, one month before september 11, katani was denied admission to the united states when an astute ins agent wouldn't allow him to enter the orlando airport. katani returned to the middle east and he was later apprehended fighting with bin laden. he was to have been the 20th hijacker. part of the evidence, 9/11 ring leader awaited him at the airport. so, for me, "zero dark 30" is a reminder of the power of one person. one week ago today, we saw the power of one individual to do horrible things. this is the opposite. if he would have allowed katani into the united states, he would have been aboard flight 93.

Hardball With Chris Matthews
MSNBC December 21, 2012 2:00pm-3:00pm PST

News/Business. (2012) New. (CC)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Boehner 25, John Boehner 17, Us 13, Mike Viqueira 8, John Kerry 7, Washington 7, United States 6, Harry Reid 6, Obama 4, Robert Costa 3, Boston 3, Mulvaney 3, America 3, Chris Cillizza 3, Mitch Mcconnell 3, Kerry 3, Bob Costa 2, Unitedhealthcare Insurance Company 2, Patrick 2, Msnbc 2
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